Staff at Cairns Regional Council took out the Climate Champion Award for their efforts cutting emissions and educating the community on climate change.

Local councils across Australia have been recognised for their innovative and impactful sustainability efforts at an awards night held by the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership.

“The local climate projects on display at these awards, from councils collaborating to purchase 100 per cent renewable energy in the largest emissions reduction project ever undertaken by Australian local governments, to shifting entire council fleets to zero emissions vehicles, are tangible proof that Australian communities are leading the way with practical local climate solutions,” director of the Cities Power Partnership, Dr Portia Odell said.

Winner in the innovation category was the City of Greater Dandenong in Victoria for its first-of-a-kind tool to address climate change in asset and infrastructure project funding bids.

Designed to be robust and straightforward, the Climate Change Self-Assessment tool assesses the contribution of a proposed capital improvement projects against the council’s goal of going net zero by 2025.

The tool assesses projects on how well they respond to climate change and how well the 10 themes of Council’s Sustainability Strategy 2016-30 are represented.

“Greater Dandenong’s initiative shows a commitment to embedding emissions reduction across all council processes, and it demonstrates the power of innovative thinking when it comes to reducing council emissions,” Dr Odell said. 

Meanwhile, Adelaide City Council took out top gong for community engagement for its Sustainability Incentive Scheme, which offers financial incentives to households and businesses to assist with innovations and early adoption of sustainable technologies.

“The 660 projects delivered throughout the city since 2015, with an additional 361 roof top solar panel systems and 113 energy storage units, continue to contribute to reducing emissions as we aspire to become a carbon neutral city,” City of Adelaide lord mayor, Sandy Verschoor said.

“The continuous evolution of the scheme to offer rebates in areas that are emerging is a real driving force behind the long-term success of this program.

This year, the Scheme is supporting shared solar systems to enable high density properties and apartment tenants access to the benefits of renewable energy.

The full list of winners: 

Renewable Energy Achievement Award 

Winner: Northern Beaches Council, NSW – Northern Beaches Goes Renewable 

Energy Efficiency Achievement Award 

Winner: Georges River Council, NSW – Working towards net zero emissions 

Sustainable Transport Achievement Award 

Winner: ACT Government, ACT – Zero Emissions Fleet Transition 

Community Engagement Achievement Award 

Winner: City of Adelaide, SA – Sustainability Incentives Scheme Enabling Community Emissions Outcomes 

Innovation Award 

Winner: Greater Dandenong City Council, VIC – Net zero emissions in Council infrastructure and assets bids

Ambition Award 

Winner: Mornington Peninsula Shire, VIC – Climate Emergency Plan “Ensuring our Future” 

Collaboration Award 

Winner: Darebin City Council, VIC – Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO) 

Climate Ambassador Award (elected representative) 

Winner: Shoalhaven City Council, NSW – Mayor Amanda Findley 

Climate Champion Award (council staff) 

Winner: Cairns Regional Council Sustainability Team, QLD 

Highly Commended: Hunter Joint Organisation, NSW 

Community Choice Award Winner: Borough of Queenscliffe, VIC – Community-led climate emergency response plan

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